Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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Eau Claire Memorial's nickname is the Old Abes, named after a bald eagle. On Saturday night, a Dove overpowered the team named after America's symbol. Kyle Dove scored twice in leading New Richmond's boys hockey team to a 3-0 win over Eau Claire Memorial. New Richmond's boys are now in the meat of their schedule. On Thursday the Tigers play at Baldwin-Woodville, one of the Middle Border Conference opponents that best challenged the Tigers in the opening round of the season. On Saturday the Tigers get their second chance at Hudson.
New Richmond's girls overcame a 14-point deficit, moving ahead of Baldwin-Woodville by five points with six minutes left in the game. Happily ever after, right? Wrong. Baldwin-Woodville slapped on a full-court trap defense that forced the Tigers into a bushel of turnovers in the final six minutes. Those turnovers provided the ignition for the Blackhawks, who outscored the Tigers 20-6 in the final six minutes of the game, giving B-W a 62-53 win. The Tigers played an outstanding third quarter.
Sometimes a long bus trip home isn't so bad. Especially when it's after ending a long losing streak. The St. Croix Central girls had come close to several wins recently, but they finally completed the task last Friday, winning at Pepin 59-41. Any question on whether the Panthers would win this game was decided in the second quarter. After leading 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Panthers erupted for 21 points in the second quarter to lead 34-17 at halftime. The Panthers lead was more than 20 points for most of the second half.
Jimmy Burke's breakaway goal 3:53 into overtime gave the Somerset hockey team a 2-1 win over Baldwin-Woodville/St. Croix Central last Thursday in Somerset. This was a tough, defensive-minded game with both teams trying to eliminate their opponent's scoring chances. Somerset ended up outshooting the Blackhawks 29-14 in the game. "We played a lot closer to what we're capable of playing defensively," Somerset coach Grant Belisle said. The overtime goal was set up by junior Shawn Walczak.
St. Croix Central's girls did their best to hang on. The Panthers led at Plum City for nearly the entire 32 minutes of regulation last Thursday. Then Plum City hit a three-pointer with 13 seconds left on the clock, tying the game and sending it to overtime. The teams traded hoops for most of the overtime, but Plum City had one more. That gave the Blue Devils a 63-61 overtime win over Central. According to Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings, it would have been an upset if Central had beaten Plum City, because the Blue Devils have a .500 record.
Two dual wins and a strong finish in the Eden Prairie Invitational made last week quite a fruitful week for the Somerset wrestling team. The Spartans rolled to the dual wins, beating St. Croix Central 63-18 last Tuesday and Prescott 58-14 last Thursday. On Saturday the competition was more challenging at Eden Prairie. The Spartans finished fourth among eight teams.
New Richmond's wrestlers continue to frustrate their Middle Border Conference opponents. The Tigers improved their MBC dual meet record to 5-1 and their overall dual meet record to 6-1 with a 46-23 win over Amery last Thursday. Like several other MBC opponents, Amery came into Thursday's dual thinking it could beat the Tigers. But the Tigers have succeeded in dual matches this season by winning the close matches. That was the case again against Amery. The Tigers got off to a 22-6 lead, thanks to two forfeits and three close wins.
The second half of the season is already better than the first half for the New Richmond boys basketball team. After going 0-10 in the first half of the regular season, the Tiger boys finally broke into the win column last Thursday. After trailing Durand by four at halftime, the Tigers played an outstanding third quarter to lead by as many as 13 points. Durand made a charge in the final minutes, but the Tigers held on for a 67-66 win. Ten different Tigers scored in the game, led by Cory Eller and Scott Meyer.
New Richmond and Somerset haven't wrestled in several years, but their first meeting in the Middle Border Conference showed this will be an instant rivalry. The night was filled with free-wheeling, wild matches where both wrestlers had their chances to take control. In the matches that were expected to be close, New Richmond came out the winner in most of them. That accounted for the Tigers being able to pull out a 37-34 win over Somerset. There were landmark wins for Somerset in the match.
Two quite evenly matched girls hockey teams squared off when Viroqua visited New Richmond last Friday. New Richmond's girls were able to control their share of the action in the game. But the Tigers could only get the puck past the Viroqua goalie once, leading to a Viroqua 2-1 victory. The game was played with good pace, as both teams tried to be aggressive in end to end action. Viroqua scored first, early in the first period. The Tigers matched that goal, scoring with 6:49 left in the first period. Ashlyne Anderson scored the Tiger goal. She led a rush up ice.